I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no expert when it comes to book promotion sites.

When I published my first three novels simultaneously on December 10th 2015a day that will live infamy, and yes, I know now that it was a harebrained marketing schemeI knew nothing about book promo sites. In fact, it’s fair to say I was against the idea of paying any service to promote my books. If you publish, they will come. Right?

Well, not exactly.

 

The Few I’ve Tried

Cut to a few years later, and I’ve had experience with several promotional services. My most recent major investment, to promote Whizzers, led to a result that was middling at best. I would not use the service again, but am loathe to name them, for obvious reasons.

However, I’ve also made smaller investments in a few other services, with varying results. Here’s what I’ve experienced thus far:

1) Genius Link – For a very low price point (monthly plans as low as $9), you can get a customized link to your Amazon book page and/or other online retailers. Genius Link has been a mixed bag for me, though overall I’d say I’m satisfied. Certainly it’s garnered a lot of clicks in many places as I’ve promoted it.

The problem? It’s difficult-if-not-impossible to determine whether or not any of those clicks lead to conversions. And while my Amazon link has gotten nearly 7,000 clicks, the link that includes all the other retailers barely ever registered at all. I’m sticking with Genius Link for now, but at some point I think the clock will be ticking on it.

2) Circle of Books – A very different strategy than Genius Link, Circle of Books creates a custom book page for the author. The service I got includes tweets from their account with a link to their page, hashtags, and so on, for a three-month period.

Pros: the page looks all right, and includes share buttons for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit & Tumblrthe last two of which I don’t visit at all. Which could give me some great exposure, except…

Cons: in the time I’ve used Circle of Books, there’s no evidence I’ve gotten any book sales from it. Their tweets sometimes get shared by some of my followers after I have shared them, but that’s not what I would ideally want to get. So, they seem like a nice enough service, but not worth reinvesting in again..at least not for me.

3) Bargain Booksy – This last entry is only here because I wanted to announce the campaign today on the blog. I’ve just tried this service, and the Whizzers feature launched yesterday. It seems to have generated a nice spike in sales of the Kindle version, so I’ll see how that translates. Too early to tell, but Bargain Booksywhich is part of the Written Word Media suite of servicesjust might be the winner.

 

Other Options

Of course there are a million of these things, and I’m sure they run the gamut from expensive-but-worth-it promo services to total scams (or just worthless “nice try” opportunities).

I’m always open to checking out things that should work, but very skeptical unless I’ve got real data that I can use to determine whether or not to invest. And just as with other investments, past performance is no guarantee of future results.

What about you? Are you an author who’s tried promo services? Have they worked well? Have they tanked? I’d love to hear from my fellow authors and get their recommendations, or warnings, in the comments below.

mask

COVID-19, Discipline, and an Uncomfortable Freedom

Last week, my wife and I did something we hadn’t done since March of 2020: we walked into a supermarket without wearing masks. This might not seem radical, but a word of explanation is in order here. My mother, who turns 86 this coming May, lives up the road from us...
kicking that can

Kicking That Can Down the Road

When I started writing my upcoming novel, I didn't have an agenda or even a plan. The story of Whizzers came about very organically, though it has roots in my own life from many years ago. To understand how I evolved as a writer, you almost have to understand how I...

About Brothers’ Hand

As Sahno Publishing continues the marketing campaign in upstate New York for Brothers’ Hand, I want to check in both with readers and potential readers. Like the blurb on the back of the book says, this is a story about Jerome Brothers, who comes from a small town in...

Strictly Business

So lately I've been looking a little bit like this guy - although this dude is younger, and probably better-looking, than me.  I mean I've been hunched over an iMac or MacBook quite a bit, working furiously on building my business. Now, I know that the people who...

All the News

It's been crazy busy for me lately, and this blog got neglected because Monday - my normal blog post date - was the 4th of July holiday. I know, I should have worked anyway, right? Isn't that what everyone does these days? Work any day and every day? Well, the heck...
election

Meet The New Year—Same As The Old Year?

Looking back at the blog over the past few months, I see a few obsessions emerging. Nothing surprising there—of course we’re all suffering from pandemic fatigue, and I’m not surprised to see my worries about the 2020 election as topics. In my October 26th post, If...
fictional world

Creating a Believable Fictional World

When it comes to writing fiction, many authors sweat the small stuff. "Do I have what it takes to write realistic dialogue?" they wonder. "Am I creating a believable fictional world?" Or, most dire of all, "Will anyone care about my books?" These concerns are all...
labor

Labor Day 2022

To all my working friends, and those of you who worked hard until you retired: I'm taking the day off, and hope you are too. Meanwhile, keep an eye out for this quarter's newsletter, appearing in your inbox tomorrow. If you're not signed up, get it here. Happy Labor...
balance

New “Writer Problems” Series, Topic #7: The Elusive Search for Balance

It's Labor Day today, and what are my wife and I doing? You guessed it: laboring! I've just finished a massive job, editing a manuscript for a 90-something client. Hey, God bless him, right? And God bless me for having the intestinal fortitude to get through the most...
Whizzers

Talking About A Metaphysical Work

On July 21st, I launched my fifth full-length work of fiction, Whizzers. I spent years working on about the first 30% of the novel, then burned through the remaining 70% from late 2018 through March 2019.So now it's the thing on the front burner. When I finished my...